Getting Better at Doing Stuff: Character Advancement
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People change. Your skills sharpen as you practice them. Your life experiences accumulate and shape your personality.Fate Accelerated Edition reflects that with character advancement, which allows you to change your aspects, add or change stunts, and raise your approach bonuses. You do this when your character reaches a milestone.
Stories in TV shows, comic books, movies, and even video games usually continue from episode to episode, season to season. It took Frodo three big books to take the Ring to the fiery mountain. It took Aang three seasons to defeat the Fire Lord. You get the idea. [FAE] can tell those kinds of stories; you play many game sessions in a row using the same characters—this is often called a campaign—and the story builds on itself. But within these long stories, there are shorter story arcs, like single episodes of a TV show or single issues of a comic, where shorter stories are told and wrapped up. [FAE] can do that too, even within a longer campaign.
In [FAE], we call those wrap-ups milestones—whether they’re small ones for short stories, or really big ones at the end of many sessions of play. [FAE] recognizes three types of milestones, and each one allows you to change your character in certain ways.
A minor milestone usually occurs at the end of a session of play, or when one piece of a story has been resolved. Rather than making your character more powerful, this kind of milestone is more about changing your character, about adjusting in response to whatever’s going on in the story if you need to. Sometimes it won’t really make sense to take advantage of a minor milestone, but you always have the opportunity in case you need to.
After a minor milestone, you can choose to do one (and only one) of the following:
- Switch the ratings of any two approaches.
- Rename one aspect that isn’t your high concept.
- Exchange one stunt for a different stunt.
- Choose a new stunt (and adjust your refresh, if you already have three stunts).
Also, if you have a moderate consequence, check to see if it’s been around for two sessions. If so, you can clear it.
A significant milestone usually occurs at the end of a scenario or the conclusion of a big plot event (or, when in doubt, at the end of every two or three sessions). Unlike minor milestones, which are primarily about change, significant milestones are about learning new things—dealing with problems and challenges has made your character generally more capable at what they do.
In addition to the benefit of a minor milestone, you also gain both of the following:
- If you have a severe consequence that’s been around for at least two sessions, you can clear it.
- Raise the bonus of one approach by one.
Raising Approach Bonuses
When you raise the bonus of an approach, there’s only one rule you need to remember: you can’t raise an approach bonus above Superb (+5).
Major milestones should only occur when something happens in the campaign that shakes it up a lot—the end of a big story arc, the final defeat of a main NPC villain, or any other large-scale change that reverberates around your game world.
These milestones are about gaining more power. The challenges of yesterday simply aren’t sufficient to threaten these characters anymore, and the threats of tomorrow will need to be more adept, organized, and determined to stand against them.
Achieving a major milestone confers the benefits of a significant milestone and a minor milestone. In addition, you may doall of the following:
- Take an additional point of refresh, which you may immediately use to purchase a stunt if you wish.
- Rename your character’s high concept (optional).